UPDATE, 6:41 AM: MSNBC began probation today. MSNBC was put there by the RNC, after network chief Phil Griffin apologized to RNC chief Reince Priebus before Priebus could appear on FNC‘s Hannity to talk about the boycott of MSNBC he’d organized in the wake of the net’s Cheerios ad tweet. Yesterday afternoon, Priebus announced that until he got a personal and public apology from Griffin himself for the tweet on the net’s official web site, suggesting “rightwing”-ers might not like Cheerios’ new Super Bowl ad featuring a multi-racial family, RNC staffers were banned from contact with MSNBC. Priebus said he’d asked all members of the GOP to do same. On the strength of that, Hannity booked Priebus for his show. But Griffin apologized quickly, which left Priebus to tell Hannity he’d put MSNBC on probation: “Now we have to stay on top of it. So you know what? It’s sort of like being on probation I guess. But the fact of the matter is, we’re here, we’re watching them,” Priebus said. He warned that if he sees any more rannygazoo coming from the general direction of MSNBC, “I’ll do it again. I promise you that.”
PREVIOUS, 1:19 PM Thursday: MSNBC says it has let go the employee who tweeted that “maybe the rightwing will hate” Cheerios’ new Super Bowl ad featuring a multiracial family, and that MSNBC president Phil Griffin has personally apologized to Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus for the tweet. Meanwhile, Fox News reported Priebus will give his first Cheerios Tweet-gate interview to Hannity at 10PM/ET. “The tweet last night was outrageous and unacceptable,” Griffin said in a statement today. “We immediately acknowledged that it was offensive and wrong, apologized, and deleted it. We have dismissed the person responsible for the tweet. I personally apologize to Mr. Priebus and to everyone offended. At MSNBC we believe in passionate, strong debate about the issues and we invite voices from all sides to participate. That will never change. “
PREVIOUS, 10:45 AM: RNC chairman Reince Priebus says MSNBC’s apology for its tweet about a Cheerios commercial does not go far enough, and is organizing a GOP boycott of the cable news network. MSNBC has deleted the tweet, called it “offensive,” said it “deeply regrets” the tweet. The network apologized and said it “does not reflect the position of MSNBC.” The tweet was about a Cheerios ad running in Sunday’s Super Bowl, featuring the same interracial family used in an earlier Cheerios ad that generated such hateful comments on YouTube that the video’s comments section was shut down. “Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family,” MSNBC tweeted, while also directing readers to its report on the ad with video of the ad.
Not enough, says Priebus, who’s trying to orchestrate a GOP-wide boycott of the network until MSNBC president Phil Griffin himself “personally and publicly” apologizes for “this behavior,” telling Griffin in a letter that also made its way to the media that “such petty and demeaning attacks have become a pattern at your network” and jumping to a discussion of how “many of your hosts have personally denigrated and demeaned Americans – especially conservative and Republican Americans – without even attempting to further meaningful political dialogue.” Technically, some of those people are now “former hosts.”
MSNBC has done a mess of apologizing lately: Our list includes former show host Martin Bashir’s apology for on-air comments about Sarah Palin, show host Melissa Harris-Perry’s tearful apology for a program panel in which fun was poked at Mitt Romney’s family photo featuring a black grandson on his knee, and former show host Alec Baldwin’s mea culpa over on-the-street anti-gay rhetoric. Both Bashir and Baldwin left the network in the wake of their comments. Priebus’ list also includes Alex Wagner and Ronan Farrow.
“Until you personally and publicly apologize for this behavior, I have banned all RNC staff from appearing on, associating with, or booking any RNC surrogates on MSNBC. I have asked Republican surrogates and officials to follow our lead.”
Here’s the breakfast cereal ad that ignited a political firestorm: